Brown relishes chance to guide Mariners
Interim manager familiar with players from time in Triple-A
SEATTLE -- Daren Brown was in Omaha, Neb., late Sunday night when his phone rang.
He was informed that the Mariners were making a managerial change the next day and asked whether he would be interested in becoming the interim manager.
Seven hours and not a wink of sleep later, he was on an airplane taking him to his new job with an organization he has worked for the past 10 years.
"I feel very fortunate and feel like it's an opportunity to be named the interim manager today," Brown said at a media session at Safeco Field before leading the Mariners to a 3-1 win over the A's. "It has been a quick turnaround for me without having a whole lot of sleep in the past 24 hours.
"But I'll try to get the team prepared as best we can to play [Monday night] and prepared to put together a nice 49 games that we've got to end the season and play as good of baseball as we can."
The Mariners' inability to play good baseball for all too many of the first 112 games of the season cost manager Don Wakamatsu, pitching coach Rick Adair, bench coach Ty Van Burkleo and performance coach Steve Hecht their jobs on Monday.
All were dismissed by general manager Jack Zduriencik, victims of the 40-72 record.
"I don't think you can come in here the first day, flip a switch and say you've got all the problems figured out and here we go," Brown said. "That would be naive on my part. I think coming in and assessing the situation is the best approach.
"I haven't been in the clubhouse or dugout or any of that all summer long. So coming in and spending a few days with the club, I will be running through things and then assess the situation from there. Then I'll have a better idea what the challenges are. There is no such thing as a magic potion or magic formula."
The 43-year-old Brown has managed Triple-A Tacoma for the past four seasons, directing the team to third, second and first-place finishes in his first three years and had the Rainiers in first place again this season in the Pacific Coast League North Division.
"Daren is an experienced manager with over a decade in the Minor Leagues," Zduriencik said. "He is intimately familiar with our club. He was with the club in Spring Training and managed many of the players on our current roster in the Minors. I believe he will do a fine job."
Seven position players spent time at Tacoma this season along with seven pitchers.
"That makes it a lot easier on me," Brown said. "To walk in here and see a lot of faces that not only I've seen in last three or four years, but guys I'd seen as early as a month or two ago, I think it should be not only easier for me, but for them. It is a difficult situation on my part. I think it's also difficult on the players in the clubhouse. So whatever we can do to ease that transition a little should be a plus for us."
Matt Tuiasosopo has played more games for Brown than anyone else in the organization.
"I have known him since '06 when I played for him at Double-A and he's a hard worker," Tuiasosopo said. "Every day, whether it's offense or defense, he's out there working.
"He's honest with you and tells you how it is, whether you like it or not."
Rookie left fielder Michael Saunders said, "I have always enjoyed playing for Daren. He's a great baseball guy. He understands the game. I don't think he's going to change. I am sure he will take his opportunity and make the most of it.
"He's a guy who expects honesty and expects a lot from his players. He understands players can't give 100 percent every day, but he expects them to give 100 percent of whatever they've got that day."
Although Brown said he is more of a "day-to-day" manager, the next seven weeks are important to his managerial career.
"He is the interim manager [and] this will be an interim staff," Zduriencik said. "At the end of the year, we will open this job up.
"In baseball and any sport or walk of life, there's always an evaluation process going on. Daren will be evaluated as we move forward. We will open this job up at the end of the year. We will seek the best candidate possible, whoever that might be."
Brown wasn't looking that far ahead as he stood at a podium prior to his first game as a big league manager.
"It could be," he said of a seven-week audition, "but I don't feel that way. I tend to look at it as I am going to do the best job I can tonight and worry about tomorrow. If it turns out to be that way at the end of the seven weeks, then that's what it was. But I am more of a day-to-day guy and not worry about tomorrow until today is over."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.